Monday, June 28, 2010

"Boyfriend" who strangled woman to death with bra sentenced to 45 years

A man with a long history of mental illness was sentenced to 45 years behind bars for the 2nd degree murder of his "girlfriend," who he strangled to death with her own bra. Circuit Judge F. Rand Wallis imposed the sentence on Orlando, FL resident Abdullah Khalig as the result of a guilty plea to 2nd degree murder in the death of Lolitta Flores February last year. The sentencing range was between 30 and 45 years.

Khalig described a long history of drug use and mental illness. But he admitted to strangling Flores with a bra. He said the voices came in his sleep. He woke up, reached over and started strangling her, he said.

"What I remember that night, I was hearing voices and I couldn't control myself," the 38 year old said in court this morning. "They were telling me to strangle her. I strangled her with the bra," he said. 49 year old Flores, a victim of Khalig's violence according to a December 2008 DV complaint, was last seen alive February 21, 2009.

He went away to use drugs and told a friend what happened. The friend contacted police, who arrested Khalig. The perpetrator led authorities to Flores' nude body, bra still around her neck, who had been dead about a week. Police believe she was murdered the night of February 22-23, 2009.  "I just needed to let it out. I felt bad for what I did. I'm thinking clearly now. I'd just like to apologize to the family and the friends."

Initially, Khalig denied killing Flores to authorities, but he later confessed. Khalig said he suffers from schizophrenia and bi-polar disorder. A psychiatric evaluation, however, determined Khalig's condition did not meet the legal requirements of an insanity plea. And all parties agreed Khalig was competent to make his guilty plea.

Khalig asked for a 30-year sentence. So did his defense attorney, Marc Burnham, who told the judge that no matter what his sentence, Khalig would be an old man if he makes it out of prison. [He]described a long history of drug use — including crack cocaine and heroin — and mental illness. He said he was homeless before staying with Flores, who held a steady job as manager for a telemarketing company. He added that they used drugs together. And he openly admitted to strangling Flores with a bra.

Phillip Marion Warren, the half brother of Flores, who experienced her as a mother figure, asked for the maximum sentence. "You took away my mother.I know he's accepted responsibility. Do I forgive him, your honor? Yes, I do. I also believe he deserves the maximum time he can get."

Assistant State Attorney Jim Altman also asked for the maximum. "You took that bra and wrapped it around her neck until you were sure she was dead?" "Yes sir," Khalig responded.

After the sentencing, Warren said, "The judge listened. He gave us the 45-year maximum. We were very happy with that."

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